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Every year, it staggers me. Mostly, I think it’s the improbability of the enterprise that knocks the wind out of me, leaves me utterly shattered. The notion that the God of the universe would submit Himself to all the ugliness and indignity and pain that this world can muster, and much worse besides – that He would, in doing so, turn death itself against itself. Add to that the breathtaking, terrible yet wonderful truth that He did all this for the likes of me, and countless more like me. How can it be so?

In our experience – in my experience – news that good never is. But this news is, as the world around us testifies. Everywhere one looks, in nature and history and, if we have the eyes to see, in our own daily lives, one can see the signs: life springing from death, glory and beauty from ugliness and hell, seemingly pointless misery that proves anything but pointless. Much of the time, I’m too absorbed in the details of my own existence to see those signs. Thankfully, there are times like today when I’m granted a small glimpse of the truth.

Small glimpses are the most I can take, and seem almost more than I can bear. It’s often said of my faith that it’s pie in the sky – the faith of those who believe what we wish were true, not what is. That argument cuts no ice with me, for this story is emphatically not what I want it to be. That anyone would bear such hell, would achieve such an unfathomably costly conquest for my sake is a horrifying thought to me: I hate debts of all kinds, especially those that are far beyond my ability to repay. That my Creator, the One who has better reason than anyone knows and far better reasons than I care to admit to find me deficient – that He would do so is simply unbearable. Not the kind of moral order I’d design, were it up to me.

And yet, in the end, that unbearable truth turns out to be the only truth that can be borne; the news that shatters all who hear it is also the only news that offers any hope that the pieces might, somehow, be put back together. Our world is filled with shattering news; of late, I’ve heard more than my share. This news is the only kind I know that heals even as it wounds. Life from death: an awful paradox, and yet an inexpressibly lovely one.

He is risen indeed.


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Comments ( 3 )

Speaking of being able to handle only glimpses of the truth, I was reading Luke's account of the Resurrection and noticed this:

"When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight." (Luke 24:30-31)

And I thought how true it was of me, that I only can take in glimpses of the truth and then it vanishes.

Having just returned from a tour with the Moody Symphonic band to Israel your words find a place for me. As I think of the physical nature of the gospel-real events in real time by real living beings- it was a particularly powerful trip. Not to see the churches and virtually idolatrous shrines over supposed holy places that Jesus life intersected with, but rather to see the rugged reality of the true Jerusalem, the mountains, the sea of Galilee, the road to Jericho and on the list goes. The overwhelming sense of the physical truth of all we read in the Bible is a powerful reminder of the profound uniqueness of our God. He is intimately involved in his creation in an earthy non-philosophical way. Although his words provide the understanding of what his actions mean it is the actions themselves under real sky, rubbing shoulders with actual men and women that paid the penalty. I continue to pray, as you have to face that same harsh reality, that God will continue to sustain you with the truth of his Word.

Christus resurrexit!
Resurrexit vere !
Alleluja !